Screening for Cancer

The good-news stories in medicine are early detection, early intervention - Thomas R. Insel

Screening for Cancer

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With Cancer Screening, Better Safe Than Sorry?

Doctors and medical organizations often advise that past a certain age, older adults can forgo various screening tests for cancer. But many patients, no matter how old or sick they may be, are reluctant to abandon tests they’ve long been told can be lifesaving.

To be sure, among my close circle of septuagenarian friends, none of us have stopped getting annual mammograms, even though I, having previously had breast cancer, am likely to be the only one among them for whom the potential benefit might conceivably outweigh the risks.

I’ve met people with no known risk for colorectal cancer who continue to get colonoscopies well past the age of established recommendations.…

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 With Cancer Screening, Better Safe Than Sorry?

Few may realize that ill-advised screening tests come at a price, and not just a monetary one that adds many billions to the nation’s health care bill. Every screening test has a rate of false positive results – misleading indications of a possible cancer that requires additional, usually invasive, testing with its own rate of complications.

23 andMe can now offer prescription-free cancer risk tests

This test is far from definitive: There are thousands of mutations on the BRCA genes alone that can raise a person’s risk of developing cancer, and 23 andMe’s test can only identify three.

4 medical tests that are awkward, embarrassing, and unnecessary

Medical exams can be important, life-saving events. There are numerous screenings that the federal government recommends happen on a regular basis, ranging from tests for sexually transmitted diseases to ones detecting certain cancers. This is not, however, true of every medical test that modern medicine has at its disposal. There are some exams that healthy people simply should not get, tests that research doesn't show to make us any healthier and tests that often involve a decent amount of discomfort. These are four of those tests that doctors and federal recommendations say otherwise healthy patients should not get — and that you probably don't want to get anyway.


Cologuard is an easy to use, noninvasive colon cancer screening test based on the latest advances in stool DNA science. It can be used by men and women 50 years of age and older who are at average risk for colon cancer. Cologuard finds both cancer and precancer.

Color Genomics

Color analyzes 30 genes—including BRCA1 and BRCA2—to help women and men understand their risk for the most common hereditary cancers, including breast, ovarian, colon, and pancreatic cancer. Complimentary genetic counseling is included.

Syrona Women

Roy and Bell, who met at Cambridge University, say their personal testing kit, Syrona, can be used to identify STDs, endometriosis and cervical cancers. If it takes off, it would alleviate pressure on healthcare services, and potentially save millions of lives - Forbes Women's health startup, Cambridge Grads, looking to make SYRONA synonymous with #femtech #health.

The following cancer screening guidelines are recommended for those people at average risk for cancer (unless otherwise specified) and without any specific symptoms.


CDC supports screening for breast, cervical, colorectal (colon), and lung cancers as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

National Cancer Institute

Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Checking for cancer (or for conditions that may lead to cancer) in people who have no symptoms is called screening. Screening can help doctors find and treat some types of cancer early. Generally, cancer treatment is more effective when the disease is found early. However, not all types of cancer have screening tests and some tests are only for people with specific genetic risks.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services.

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